Lewisburg is on it's way to being cleaner, prettier and safer

Friday, April 3, 2015
This is what the bridge on East Commerce Street looks like today.

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

Widening the turn radius at the intersection of West Commerce Street and Heil Quaker Road, updating the Housing Code and reconstructing the bridge on East Commerce Street are a few of the things to be done around Lewisburg, making it cleaner, prettier and safer.

Lewisburg recently received a safety grant that will fix the intersection at Heil Quaker Road and West Commerce Street.

Currently, when pulling out of Heil Quaker Road, 18-wheel trucks have to make wide turns, entering the East bound lane or sometimes even hitting the brick wall parallel with West Commerce Street.

The city will have to relocate all utility poles and the corner pieces of land on either side of Heil Quaker Road, when approaching West Cormmerce Street, will be purchased, making way for an increased turn radius.

The project is completely funded by the state.

Jim Bingham, Mayor of Lewisburg, is also working on adding pedestrian crosswalks throughout intersections on West Commerce Street, specifically from Heil Quaker Road to the convenient store on West Commerce Street.

Placing better lighting through particular areas on West Commerce Street is also crucial to he and Randall Dunn, Lewisburg City Manager.

"The last thing we want is for people to get hurt or killed from a driver not seeing a pedestrian cross the road late at night," said Dunn.

Bingham added that 99% of people don't yield when a pedestrian crosses the crosswalks located around town. This is a problem he is working to fix.

With lots of effort to make Lewisburg safer, Bingham and Dunn are also working on making it a cleaner and prettier place for current and future residents.

Dunn is to present the idea of revamping the housing code to the City Council work session Monday night.

Not to get this confused with the building code, the housing code will implement stricter laws regarding the appearance of one's home.

"Right now we are at about a 10 to 15 on a scale of one to 100 on how strict our housing code is," Dunn said.

Although he isn't sure how strict he wants to make the codes for Lewisburg, he plans to look at the International Housing Code standards and go from there.

If adopted, the updated housing code could make one cut their lawn if it were to get too tall, fix pealing paint of the exterior of their home or replace torn screens or cracked windows.

If one does not follow the code, he could receive a citation.

"Unkept yards that contain a lot of clutter are a priority to me," said Bingham.

More than 40% of homes in Lewisburg are rentals. Bingham said that has a lot to do with why some houses in town look run down.

"Some people don't take as much pride in how their home looks. Some landlords require tenants to keep their home in tip-top shape; others don't, leaving the renter with no motivation to maintain their property," said Bingham.

"It's not fair to the city or neighbors when you have 90% of the people keeping their home neat and a handful not."

After the signs and light poles on West Commerce are to fixed or replaced, Dunn said it will make a huge difference on the appearance of Lewisburg.

In addition, Lewisburg received a grant that will replace the the bridge on East Commerce Street.

To provide access from East Commerce Street to the Rock Creek Park trail, the city also received a grant that will have placed a multi-model ramp from the bridge to the trail. The project will create a safe multi-use connection for bicycles and pedestrian traffic. The new bridge will feature three arches on each side, replicating the design of the bridge at Rock Creek Park.

Tennessee's state flag, an iris, which is the state flower, and a chrysanthemum can be found on the new bridge on each arch.

Dunn is also working on improvements to Harmond Park, across the street from the Connelly Middle School or what is now the Dream Center. He wants to revamp the area to carry out more activity.

Dunn also wants to have put in a decorative bridge so people can get to the park from the road.